It’s time, Navy captain tells Congress:
Alert watchers of Good Morning America last week saw the unflinching face of Captain Joan Darrah, a 30-year Navy veteran preparing for today’s Congressional hearings on the military’s policy "Don’t Ask,Don’t Tell" policy on gays in the military, which come right after a new poll showed that 75 percent of  Americans had no problem with openly servicemembers.

The 15-year-old policy, Darrah told Diversity Inc. last year, reaches into all corners of your life:

Imagine that you just escaped a fatal accident and knew that if you had died, your spouse would not have been notified. That’s what happened to Naval Capt. Joan E. Darrah on Sept. 11, 2001, after she left a meeting in the Pentagon. The meeting lasted from 8:30 a.m to 9:30 a.m  Seven minutes later, the exact area of the Pentagon where Darrah sat was hit by the third plane in the four-plane terrorist attack.

Darrah’s first thoughts were of her partner, Lynne Kennedy. Because Darrah works for the U.S. Navy, no one knew she had spent 17 years of her life with Kennedy. No one knew Darrah was a lesbian because if they did, the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy would force her to be fired. So she kept it a secret.

A heart to heart about great sex
: This week, the Village Voice’s Naked City column features an interview with Joan Price, author of the book (and blog) Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty.  Price told the Voice that she was surprised, when
working on the book, that women didn’t seem to be shy about
talking about their sex lives:

I was surprised at how much women my age and older
wanted to talk about their sexual experiences and attitudes. I thought
– since society was not (at that time) talking out loud about older-age
sexuality, that it would be difficult to find women willing to be
interviewed. On the contrary – they said over and over, “Thank you for
asking! I’ve been wanting to talk about this!” It was very gratifying
to help give voice to these older women and shake the stereotypes loose.

Now, Price added, she’s working on a sequel, and she’s looking for you:

Wanted: Women and men over 50, single or partnered,
straight or gay, willing to write candidly about your personal
experiences and attitudes regarding sex and aging for my new book. I’m
seeking your written comments and stories about the trials and
challenges as well as the joys of sexuality after 50.

This will be a follow-up to Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty
and will include stories from singles and couples, women and men, along
with strategies for improving those situations that challenge us as we
age. It will be more solution-oriented than Better Than I Ever Expected,
dealing with the health and relationship problems in greater depth,
with more expert tips. While Better was geared towards women (and those
who love them!), this book will represent men and women equally.

Would you or any of your age 50+ friends like to be a part of this
book? You will be identified by a first name of your choice and your
age. Your true identity will be kept strictly confidential.

"I understand the mistakes I made as an activist"
  54-year-old Huntington Beach mayor Debbie Cook said last week that her years in government have taught her a lot about how to make effective change behind the Orange [County] curtain. Her hopes to take those lessons to Washington,  the L.A. Times reported with surprise this week, look just slightly less quixotic:

One of Southern California’s most long-shot congressional races just got a little more interesting. Figures released this week show that Debbie Cook, an upstart
Democratic challenger for the congressional seat held by Republican Dana Rohrabacher,
raised more money in campaign contributions in the last three months
than the popular 10-term incumbent. It was the second straight quarter
in which Cook received more campaign donations than Rohrabacher, though
he has far more cash in the bank.

On top of that, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report in Washington, D.C.,
recently declared the race slightly more competitive than before,
changing its ranking from “solid Republican” to “likely Republican.”

Cook is also drawing interest nationally, from those long offended by Rohrbacher’s  record — 14 percent from NOW’s Congressional scorecard, 17 percent from the League of Conservation Voters, 9 percent from the ACLU and 0 percent from NARAL Pro-Choice America — and for her work on the   Southern California Association of Governments  Energy and Environment Committee. In the interview below, she talks to Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo about energy, elections and the Internet:


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  • Joan Price July 31, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you for reprinting part of the Village Voice’s Naked City interview with me. There were no links to the original article or to my blog or email address, so your readers may wonder how they can get in touch if they want to be part of the new book. My email address is
    Thank you!
    Joan Price
    author of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty (
    Join us — we’re talking about ageless sexuality at